What initially started as a fun activity for two Westerville sisters turned into a lesson about entrepreneurship and giving back.
Kristen Messenheimer, mother of Evie, 8, and Ella, 5, said the girls tie-dyed 100 masks over the course of a week during the summer.
"The girls decided they wanted to donate some of the proceeds and wanted to do something that would impact people close to home, so they decided to donate half of the proceeds to buy school supplies for kids at their own school, McVay (Elementary School)," she said.
The sisters made signs and turned a lemonade stand into a mask stand.
"The girls also created a 'commercial' advertising their sale that we posted on Facebook," Messenheimer said. "They even used their dolls as mask models. On the morning of the sale on July 25, the girls picked a location at the top of our street that allowed them to be easily visible to cars, cyclists and people out for a walk."
The duo started selling at 9 a.m. and were completely sold out by 12:45 p.m.
"Many of the buyers were family and friends that had seen their advertisements on Facebook, but we were all pleasantly surprised by the number of people passing by that chose to stop," Messenheimer said. "In fact, their very first customer of the day was a woman who was on her way to her in-home nursing job, and later that day, another woman came by recommendation of the nurse."
Three Westerville teachers gave their support by visiting the booth and buying masks including Arin Florence, Evie's second-grade teacher at McVay last school year, and Katie Brooks and Heidi Williams, Ella's preschool teachers at Central College last year.
"We were so impressed that their teachers came out to show their support," Messenheimer said.
In learning about money and entrepreneurship, the sisters used math to determine how much money was needed to reimburse the cost of the supplies.
"They also had a blast getting to spend and save some of their earnings, which was an amazing learning experience in terms of the value of money, prioritizing wants and learning about taxes," Messenheimer said. "They then used about $250 to purchase school supplies. The girls and I took a trip to Kroger with the McVay school-supply lists, and they were able to pick out six full sets of school supplies -- one for each grade K-5."
At home, the girls sorted the supplies by grade and then delivered them on the back-to-school days for the principal and school counselor to distribute at their discretion.
Both girls said their favorite part of the summer project was selling the masks.
"I liked giving the masks to people and collecting the money," Ella said.
Evie said she enjoyed talking to people.
"I liked seeing my friends that stopped by, and the people I didn't know were all really nice," she said.
The sisters since have made more masks for fun, giving them to people they know, including teachers, gymnastics coaches and friends, Messenheimer said.